Our "In Conversation" series features long-form interviews with visionaries and change-makers

In this episode we’re talking: NFTs. If you don’t know what this latest phenomenon in the crypto, blockchain, asset speculation world is, if you’ve heard of NFTs but wanna know more, or if you wanna hear why NFTs might be leading us to an [even more] dystopian future — we’ve got you covered. 

 

We’ve brought on two guests to help unpack the NFT craze: Nathan Schneider is an Assistant Professor of Media studies at the University of Colorado, Boulder, journalist, founder of the Media Enterprise Design Lab, and author most recently of Everything for Everyone: The Radical Tradition that Is Shaping the Next Economy, published by Nation Books.

 

Cory Doctorow is an author, activist, journalist and blogger, editor of Pluralistic dot net, former European director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and author of the novels Attack Surface and Walkaway, as well as nonfiction books like How to Destroy Surveillance Capitalism

It often feels like contemporary life diverges from everything that actually matters. Our global economic system could not be less in touch with patterns of creation, natural systems, and the real wealth of healthy soil, clear water, and bonded communities. Of course, it hasn’t always been this way — and it doesn’t have to continue to be.

In this conversation, or yarn, we speak with Tyson Yunkaporta of the Apalech Clan in far north Queensland, Australia, about the connections between Indigenous economics, complexity theory, and systems thinking. We also discuss caring for the commons, explore how to hold each other accountable, and hear the story of the world’s first corporation. Tyson carves traditional tools and weapons, works as a senior lecturer in Indigenous Knowledges at Deakin University in Melbourne, and recently authored the book Sand Talk: How Indigenous Thinking Can Save the World.

With strikes in a wide variety of private sectors popping up all across the country — Kelloggs, Kaiser Permanente, coal miners in Alabama, John Deere, IATSE, Taxi Drivers on hunger strike in NY, and more — the United States might be on the verge of a strike wave, and we’ve brought on the perfect guest to explain exactly what’s going on. Alex Press is a staff writer at Jacobin Magazine, host of the Primer podcast, and author most recently of the Jacobin articles, “US Workers Are in a Militant Mood” and “Halyna Hutchins’s Death on the Set of Rust Was “Not a Freak Accident.

 

The Conversation will bring you up to date on all of the labor activity currently underway, but will also zoom out to explore the state of the labor movement more broadly, taking a deep dive on how the pandemic has transformed the movement, unpacking what’s really behind the so-called “labor shortage,” and getting to the root of why workers are starting to stand up to bosses in a way that we haven’t seen for quite some time. 

In this Conversation, we take a deep dive into how the ideology of whiteness permeates mainstream, Western feminism, and how those on the peripheries are often left out — and even exploited by — feminism and certain feminists. Rafia Zakaria is a columnist for Dawn in Pakistan and author, most recently, of Against White Feminism: Notes on Disruption, published by Norton and Company. Against White Feminism has made quite a splash since its publication in August, with a lot of positive reception, but also drawing the ire of many of those who it seeks to critique — namely, a certain cadre of feminists, often upper-middle class and white, who hold onto their very specific ideas about what feminism is, what it’s not, and perhaps most importantly — who gets to define it.

In this conversation, we speak with Matt Christman, co-host of Chapo Trap House, one of our favorite podcasts, which was founded in 2016 and hosted by Matt, along with Will Menaker and Felix Biederman. The conversation includes many of the themes and topics mentioned above and discussed on Chapo, but begins with a conversation around Matt’s new podcast, Hell of Presidents, which he just launched with Chapo producer Chris Wade. The podcast tells the story of American history through a materialist, political-economic examination of the institution of the presidency. It might sound a bit wonky, but through this specific history Matt and Chris explore a wide range of topics, from the evolution of waged-labor to the many contradictions that this country was founded on and which we continue to experience today. 

We are currently living in an era dominated by overwork. Whether it’s your punch-in, punch-out job, the side hustles and extra gig work you pursue to help make rent, the drive to produce and consume “content” during every waking hour, or the expectation to look a certain way and constantly keep up with whatever trends surround you — it’s relentless.

In this Conversation, we speak with Dr. Devon Price, a social psychologist at Loyola University in Chicago, explores these topics in their book, Laziness Does Not Exist, published by Atria Books. How have the concepts of “productivity” and “laziness” been manufactured and deployed by capital to cultivate pliant, profitable workers? How have the ideals of hyper-productivity encouraged not just willing but enthusiastic participation in the hustle-and-grind culture of modern capitalism? And what can we do to escape this prison? These are just some of the questions in this Conversation.

More interviews from our "In Conversation" series